One of Country’s Hottest Duos Brings Their Party to the Salt Water Music Fest
Interviewed by Will Estell, September, 2023
If you’re a fan of high-energy rocking country, combined with catchy songwriting and the remarkable stage presence that goes with great live entertainment, then you’re probably already familiar with LOCASH and the success this duo has garnered over the past decade-and-a-half in the ever-competitive world of country hitmakers.
LOCASH was originally formed back in 2006 by singer-songwriters Chris Lucas and Preston Brust who had each headed to Nashville to pursue their dreams of making a living writing and performing country music. Jump ahead 17 years and lots of time in the studio, on the road and on the stage, and they’re established family men as well. Chris, a native of Baltimore, Md., along with his wife, Kaitlyn, and their three children call Tampa home, while Preston, originally from Kokomo, Ind., and his wife, Kristen, and three children reside in the Nashville area.
The duo has had an impressive share of cuts turned hits, both recorded by LOCASH and those performed by other well-known country artists; like the number one, “You Gonna Fly,” written by LOCASH and Cadillac Three’s Jaren Johnson, and performed by Keith Urban. The duo, along with close musical friends Chris Janson and Danny Myrick, also wrote Tim McGraw’s, “Truck Yeah.” But they’ve charted their own country hits, too, like their Platinum breakout “I Love This Life,” and their number one Gold hits, “I Know Somebody” and “One Big Country Song.”
As a duo they’ve earned eight charting singles, cut three studio albums and garnered over 820 million global on-demand streams. LOCASH has also received a healthy dose of acknowledgments and accolades, including a recent Vocal Duo of the Year nomination at the 56th Annual CMA Awards.
As a fan of LOCASH’s writing and ability to work the crowd, I’ve seen the duo perform live, and I can tell you that you don’t want to miss their upcoming headlining performance as part of Mattie Kelly Art Foundation’s inaugural, three-day Salt Water Music Festival, happening October 12-14. It also includes performances by the talented Macy Gray, as well as top Nashville singer-songwriters, Ben Burgess, Josh Mirenda, Jared Mullins, Jordan Minton and Jordan Reynolds.
I sat down with Chris and Preston to find out a little more about their thoughts on everything from the ever-changing music industry, their patriotism, being named honorary guardians of Space Force, and their love of our beautiful beach towns.
Both of you have been very vocal about being strong supporters of our military, showing your patriotism by traveling abroad many times to perform at U.S. bases around the world. What transpired to cause LOCASH to be so passionate about our country and the men and women that defend it?
Chris: Preston has a brother that was in the Air Force, and my dad was in the Army, and my great granddad was in the Army. In fact, he actually rode with Teddy Roosevelt, as one of the Rough Riders, which was awesome. With that background, when me and Preston got together we just said, “We’ve got to do something to support our men and women in uniform.” They mean the world to us, and we couldn’t do what we do without the freedoms we have because of our military.
I’m sure seeing what you two have seen in your travels to perform to our troops in other parts of the world really paints a clearer picture of how good we all have it in this great country.
Preston: Yeah, traveling to some of those bases to perform, and seeing other parts of the world, then comparing the freedoms we have, really puts it in perspective. When you get back in the states and think about how different it is at home, it’s just an awesome feeling, you know. That’s one of the reasons we wrote, “Three Favorite Colors.” We wanted to stand proud and say how we feel about our freedoms and those who make them possible.
Chris: Yeah, man, I mean for years, when we were on the road, I used to go on Space.com all the time. I mean, no joke, I was literally into what asteroids were close, what satellites were going up. It just all really intrigued me.
Preston: He was on Space.com, and I was on Playboy.com [laughing, jokingly]. Really, with all the military stuff we were doing, General Whiting just asked us to get involved, after President Trump started Space Force [in 2020], a lot of people joked about it, and no one seemed to know what Space Force was or what they did. So, we got involved and started helping to spread the word, and they made us Honorary Guardians. I mean who else would you want to protect the world, but LOCASH? [laughing]
You guys have had success both as performers of your own songs, and as songwriters for other hits like Keith Urban’s “You Gonna Fly” and McGraw’s “Truck Yeah.” I’ve seen you perform live and you really bring it. But, what is your favorite side of it, writing or performing, or do you like both equally?
Preston: I think it’s pretty equal for us. Just being on stage and giving those people 45 or 75 or 90 minutes and reaching those people live is just fun. When I see one little kid, just screaming out the song lyrics at the top of his lungs, that’s when I know we’ve done something right.
Chris: Like with the song, “I Love This Life,” when we are up there playing that and you see people singing along, and you know they know the words, because that song has impacted them in a positive way, there’s no better feeling than that.
What’s your favorite LOCASH song you’ve written?
Chris: It’s probably, “I Love This Life,” because, you know, it was our first one to go up the charts, and you never forget your first. That song felt like the little train that could. It just kept climbing the charts. It was just cool to watch music do what it’s supposed to do. Just for two guys who’ve worked so hard to get to that moment, and then to watch it happen… I love this life, for sure.
What about a favorite song the two of you have written for another artist?
Preston: You gotta love [Tim] McGraw’s “Truck Yeah,” and “You Gonna Fly” [performed by Keith Urban]. There’s actually some songs we’ve written that haven’t even gotten picked up yet that I probably love even more than either one of those.
I’ve asked multiple long-time artists I interview—from the iconic Jimmy Buffett to Kenny Chesney to STYX to Alan Jackson and Sara Evans—this same question: In the time you’ve been in the industry, how have you seen it change, and what do you see coming for the future of music and how you as artists navigate this everchanging landscape?
Preston: I tell you, Will, there’s been a ton of changes, and it’s easy sometimes to get discouraged. Because sometimes the music industry changes so quickly that you have to adjust your next move, whether it’s methodically, touring, business wise or even social media. I mean, I remember when MySpace was a thing, then sitting down and starting our first Facebook page, and realizing we could have a music Facebook page, too. And just when you have watched all those things evolve, and start to get used to where it’s headed, streaming comes along, and it’s like, boom! Now it’s not just about country radio, it’s about all the streamers you have to reach: Spotify, Pandora, Apple—all of these outlets where people are consuming music. So, now even that is beginning to change. One thing I love about Chris and me, is that we’ve always kinda been able to adjust, and move with the industry. I see really cool things coming. I mean, we just did a show in California a couple weeks ago, for a company called HitKor. It was a really cool thing, because we were able to do a live show on stage, while also performing globally, online. Fans just pay one ticket price and they can watch from home anywhere in the world! HitKor is making that record live, and then it can be used on radio, on streamers and other places too. So, it’s amazing how people are learning to adapt and share music in the industry. Back when we started in ’06, people couldn’t wait to get an album out, and now you don’t even need an album—a lot of times it’s just a song. And now sometimes it’s not even a whole song. Trending sounds are becoming wildly popular online.
As for projects beyond the music, tell me a little about the new ‘I Love This Life’ podcast you guys have launched. You have mentioned it’s going to be no-holds-barred conversations, and you promise to keep it raw and real. What does that entail and how did the podcast come to be?
Preston: Man, one of my favorite things about our career is the stories. The places we’ve been and the things we’ve done, like “Remember that time we did this or that?” We’ll be sitting on the bus and telling stories and we get to laughing and we always say, “Man, no one would ever believe that if we told that story.” So, we just decided to start telling those stories, because that’s what life is about. It’s about looking forward to things, but also reliving some of those fun moments and stories from the past. [Fans can find LOCASH’s I Love This Life podcast on YouTube and Apple.]
I know you guys have played quite often along the beach communities of Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, including shows in Fort Walton Beach to playing Gulf Coast Jam in PCB. What are your thoughts on the area? Have you also vacationed here over the years?
Chris: We definitely have vacationed there with our families. Even recently when we played in Fort Walton [The Block], we stayed an extra couple of days. We were staying in Destin last time. I love Destin. The Emerald Coast is just beautiful, and this time, the family is going to be there. We love playing there. It’s great to look at the water, and jump in before jumping on stage. And especially with the military bases being there, it’s a wonderful place for us to play.
For more information, and tickets, to LOCASH’s upcoming performance as part of Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s Salt Water Music Fest, visit MKAF.org.